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post #101 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by swimswamswum View Post
Also, I think it's interesting that no one addressed the point I made that the bible says nothing about lesbian relationships.
you're right it doesn't sya anything about lesbians. my husband and i have talked about this before actually. I didn't address it simply b/c I didn't have anything to say about it. not b/c I didn't consider it.

my personal thoughts? while I find it an interesting (and curious) fact, I don't see how it negates what the Bible does say and imply about sexual relationships between a man and woman. so while I see it as worth bringing up, it doesn't personally convince *me* that it approves of lesbianism... it just didn't seem my 2 cents on that were all that valuable to the discussion
post #102 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post

If the choice is to literally assume that the bible is true or not to take it at all, I would chose not, frankly. However, I think that God gave us more than the single tool to understand God's will -- one is scripture, but then we also have the ability to think and reason. And that reason brings me to the conclusion that the bible isn't a static set of laws, nor is it uninfluenced by those who have written it down, interpretted it, translated, and made decisions about what is and isn't included. Its a tool, but its not the only one. So solving this by scripture alone will get us nowhere and we'll have to agree to disagree.
though I don't necessarily agree with how you see things via homosexuality (and like issues) I do agree with what you said here, completely. God did give us more than one tool. one of those tools is the Bible. one is tradition. unfortunately tradition (as in carrying down traditions) isn't perfect either. nor is word of mouth. nor is our reasoning and logic skills (as we are far from perfect and all knowing) so... we combine them all, and submit them at the feet of God humbly and ask Him to show us in His own ways the truth... the only thing I caution against is using our logic OVER the Bible... as sometimes we are short on logic where principle is involved. I think both should be weighed heavily.

you bring up a good point.
post #103 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by swimswamswum View Post
Also, I think it's interesting that no one addressed the point I made that the bible says nothing about lesbian relationships.
I was going to address lesbianism, but figured it was pointless. Since you mentioned it again...this is where most people go to, to address lesbianism. Make of it what you will.


Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:


Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.


Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:


Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
post #104 of 132
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post #105 of 132
Hi. I forgot to mention something last night. Before I shared the Source translation for those 2 verses, I had claimed that neither had the word "homosexual" in them. Then, when I was copying them down, I discovered that one verse did indeed use the word "homosexual" -- however, it wasn't used as a noun by itself, but as an adjective along with other adjectives, to describe one particular kind of behavior.

Considering the whole description, not even homosexual crossdressers in general were being addressed -- the word "promiscous" means that this description says nothing about homosexuals who are faithful to one person.

I've been wondering a lot about what Paul meant when he said that we had to follow the sexual Law of Moses in order to inherit God's Realm. According to the letter of this law, I would need to abstain from sex not only for the 5 days of my period, but for 7 additional days after the flow has stopped, for a total of 12 days.

Now, if God is indeed saying that that's what we all need to do -- then certainly we should do it and not just dismiss it as being "too hard" for ourselves or for our spouses. I'm just feeling that Paul wasn't so much focusing on all the intricacies of the law -- but was rather wanting to reiterate that being under grace wasn't just a big free-for-all.

It seems likely that he was admonishing people to be faithful to their spouses, and resist sliding back into promiscuity.
post #106 of 132
Beakybird, there are different ways of translating and interpreting those verses you've just shared. And, as others have mentioned, things do get added in whenever something is translated from one language to another.

Anyhow, I believe that the only occasion Paul had to see or know about same-sex acts, was in the context of promiscuoity and unfaithfulnes to the marriage covenant. I don't believe he knew gays or lesbians who were in committed, loving, respectful unions.
post #107 of 132
This issue of man's logic vs. God's commands is an interesting one. The problem, as I see it, is that simply by the fact of reading the Bible, we have to apply our logic to understand what it is saying and how it applies to us. There is no question but that Christians do not follow all of the commands in the Bible. Christians do not follow most of levitical law, for example. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus spoke at length about the Law, taking it beyond simply following the letter of the law to the far more challenging command to follow the spirit of the law. He summed it up in Matthew 7:12 by saying that the essence of the law and the prophets is the golden rule i.e. do unto others as you would have them do to yourself. This indicates to me that Jesus understood God's law as not just some random set of rules he set out with no logical purpose; they very much do have a purpose that should be readily evident to logical reason. Most of the sermon on the mount is exhorting people to really understand what the laws mean and apply that rather than just blindly following what they say, for example saying that it is not enough to simply not commit adultery, but even looking at another person with lust is commiting adultery in the heart.

Look at the ten commandments. There isn't a commandment in there that an average person can't immediately grasp the reason for its existence. Don't steal, don't murder, don't envy, etc. Doing these things very clearly violate the golden rule. Much of levitical law cannot be explained by the golden rule, of course, but Christianity does not follow levitical law. I'm trying to think of any injunction in Christianity that can't be explained by the golden rule and I can't think of any. Except for the injunctions for women to cover up and not speak in church etc, and those are not followed by the vast majority of bible-believing christians. Precisely because, since there is no logical reason for them today, since a woman speaking respectfully in church doesn't violate the golden rule (and in fact prohibiting women from participating in church discussion does violate the golden rule), mainstream Christianity has applied logic to those commands and decided they are "cultural" or as applying only to the specific churches that Paul was writing to and not to all churches in general.

In the same way, the reason why Paul's apparent prohibition of homosexuality is questioned by many Bible-believing Christians is because loving, committed same-sex relationships do not in any way violate the golden rule. I don't see this as "putting man's logic ahead of God's commands", I see it as doing what Jesus told us to do, to understand the law at a deeper level than just commands that we follow blindly without knowing why.

Because of this, I tend to agree with mammal mama that Paul was talking about homosexual practices that were exploitative and harmful, and that healthy loving homosexual relationships simply weren't known back then.

HennyPenny, I agree with you that Christians should read the Bible using all our facilities, including logic and above all prayer, but you do understand that when some people do that they get different answers than you do, right? I mean this sincerely. I have spent hours in tears on my knees struggling with these issues, and the answers I got are quite different than yours.
post #108 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
This issue of man's logic vs. God's commands is an interesting one. The problem, as I see it, is that simply by the fact of reading the Bible, we have to apply our logic to understand what it is saying and how it applies to us.
Yes, that's how I see it, too.

Quote:
In the same way, the reason why Paul's apparent prohibition of homosexuality is questioned by many Bible-believing Christians is because loving, committed same-sex relationships do not in any way violate the golden rule. I don't see this as "putting man's logic ahead of God's commands", I see it as doing what Jesus told us to do, to understand the law at a deeper level than just commands that we follow blindly without knowing why.
Thanks for putting this into words so eloquently! I, like you, see it as coming to a deeper understanding and not as putting my logic ahead of God's Word or His commands.

Quote:
HennyPenny, I agree with you that Christians should read the Bible using all our facilities, including logic and above all prayer, but you do understand that when some people do that they get different answers than you do, right? I mean this sincerely. I have spent hours in tears on my knees struggling with these issues, and the answers I got are quite different than yours.
Thank you for taking the time to share your heart here!
post #109 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
This issue of man's logic vs. God's commands is an interesting one. The problem, as I see it, is that simply by the fact of reading the Bible, we have to apply our logic to understand what it is saying and how it applies to us. There is no question but that Christians do not follow all of the commands in the Bible. Christians do not follow most of levitical law, for example. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus spoke at length about the Law, taking it beyond simply following the letter of the law to the far more challenging command to follow the spirit of the law. He summed it up in Matthew 7:12 by saying that the essence of the law and the prophets is the golden rule i.e. do unto others as you would have them do to yourself. This indicates to me that Jesus understood God's law as not just some random set of rules he set out with no logical purpose; they very much do have a purpose that should be readily evident to logical reason. Most of the sermon on the mount is exhorting people to really understand what the laws mean and apply that rather than just blindly following what they say, for example saying that it is not enough to simply not commit adultery, but even looking at another person with lust is commiting adultery in the heart.

Look at the ten commandments. There isn't a commandment in there that an average person can't immediately grasp the reason for its existence. Don't steal, don't murder, don't envy, etc. Doing these things very clearly violate the golden rule. Much of levitical law cannot be explained by the golden rule, of course, but Christianity does not follow levitical law. I'm trying to think of any injunction in Christianity that can't be explained by the golden rule and I can't think of any. Except for the injunctions for women to cover up and not speak in church etc, and those are not followed by the vast majority of bible-believing christians. Precisely because, since there is no logical reason for them today, since a woman speaking respectfully in church doesn't violate the golden rule (and in fact prohibiting women from participating in church discussion does violate the golden rule), mainstream Christianity has applied logic to those commands and decided they are "cultural" or as applying only to the specific churches that Paul was writing to and not to all churches in general.

In the same way, the reason why Paul's apparent prohibition of homosexuality is questioned by many Bible-believing Christians is because loving, committed same-sex relationships do not in any way violate the golden rule. I don't see this as "putting man's logic ahead of God's commands", I see it as doing what Jesus told us to do, to understand the law at a deeper level than just commands that we follow blindly without knowing why.

Because of this, I tend to agree with mammal mama that Paul was talking about homosexual practices that were exploitative and harmful, and that healthy loving homosexual relationships simply weren't known back then.

HennyPenny, I agree with you that Christians should read the Bible using all our facilities, including logic and above all prayer, but you do understand that when some people do that they get different answers than you do, right? I mean this sincerely. I have spent hours in tears on my knees struggling with these issues, and the answers I got are quite different than yours.
absolutely. my biblical position is not one i take lightly. it came after such internal conflict that i hit my knees and sought after the lords heart with much humility and care. and i still have to. daily. hourly. my authority as a christian is in my relationship with holy spirit and i take that with great responsibility as i not only want to represent our precious lord as best as i am humanly able, but because i also desire an authentic and deep relationship.

MCC has a great article about the bible and homosexuality that i thought i would link.

and mamas, as we proceed with this important discussion can we please remember that even though we may disagree, we are part of a large family and we need to pursue this with love and compassion? this is an issue that has the potential to hurt hearts deeply and cause a lot of shame. wherever we land, i think we can all agree that our greatest command in regards to our responsibility to each other is to love!
post #110 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms.QsMama View Post
absolutely. my biblical position is not one i take lightly. it came after such internal conflict that i hit my knees and sought after the lords heart with much humility and care. and i still have to. daily. hourly. my authority as a christian is in my relationship with holy spirit and i take that with great responsibility as i not only want to represent our precious lord as best as i am humanly able, but because i also desire an authentic and deep relationship.

MCC has a great article about the bible and homosexuality that i thought i would link.

and mamas, as we proceed with this important discussion can we please remember that even though we may disagree, we are part of a large family and we need to pursue this with love and compassion? this is an issue that has the potential to hurt hearts deeply and cause a lot of shame. wherever we land, i think we can all agree that our greatest command in regards to our responsibility to each other is to love!
Thank you for sharing that article! I discovered some things in there that I hadn't got from any other source -- especially the norm of sex only being appropriate in a dominant/submissive relationship.

This is just so different from our ideals today -- where we value equality and mutual respect in sexual relationships.
post #111 of 132
And I agree that, in all this discussion and every thing, we need to keep love as our central focus. If we can, maybe this discussion can keep going indefinitely, which would enable so much wisdom, and creative insight to be shared.
post #112 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post

If the choice is to literally assume that the bible is true or not to take it at all, I would chose not, frankly. However, I think that God gave us more than the single tool to understand God's will -- one is scripture, but then we also have the ability to think and reason. And that reason brings me to the conclusion that the bible isn't a static set of laws, nor is it uninfluenced by those who have written it down, interpretted it, translated, and made decisions about what is and isn't included. Its a tool, but its not the only one. So solving this by scripture alone will get us nowhere and we'll have to agree to disagree.
post #113 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
HennyPenny, I agree with you that Christians should read the Bible using all our facilities, including logic and above all prayer, but you do understand that when some people do that they get different answers than you do, right? I mean this sincerely. I have spent hours in tears on my knees struggling with these issues, and the answers I got are quite different than yours.

yes I do understand this very much... which is why I mentioned it. and sometimes I think the answers we think we receive are not answers from god but from ourselves, our wishes and our desires.. or outside influences. (this goes both ways!) which is why I always try to remian open to God about it all. knowing at any moment i could misunderstand His laws, commands or "answers" to my questions about any given subject. I am flawed and imperfect.

If i felt i knew it all I would instead say "and this is how it is, and that is final". but i haven't said anything of the sort. only to explain a few thoughts and concepts. I've never told anyone how to feel only encouraged seeking god wholeheartedly (as in NOT with a preconceived notion of what is right). I have and will continue to do this in many ways. Homosexuality is a difficult issue. anyone who says it's not, I think is quite oversimplifying it. (on either side of the issue!). it's one of many unclear things. to some it may seem clear, but to those who look deeply they tend to think it's slightly muddy. (even myself, who disagrees that homosexuality is permissible admits this!)

I don't believe I've given any reason to evoke the idea that I think everyone should agree with how I see it. The ONLY thing I've openly disagreed on it how "fundies" are labeled negatively and that basing our feelings about God's law solely on our own feelings isn't an accurate way to obtain what God desires of us. beyond that I've been open to other thoughts completely. (though I may disagree)
post #114 of 132
HennyPenny, What gets me about the whole "this issue is not clear" argument, is that we're talking about people's lives here.

For heterosexuals, yeah, I guess it's easy to take the attitude that it's somehow more thoughtful and spiritual to remain inconclusive.

But for homosexuals, there's a need to come to an acceptance of themselves and of this unique calling that God has placed on their lives. There's also this need for the parents, and other family members and friends of gay individuals.

As I write this, I'm thinking of "The Bible Tells Me So" -- and of the mother of the girl who hung herself. When her daughter came out to her, this mother responded by saying, "I love you but I will never accept this in you." And to her daughter, that did not feel like love.

After her daughter's death, this mother began to study the Scriptures for herself, and to realize she'd swallowed a lie, a lie that had ultimately cost her (and this world) her lovely daughter. So now she finds comfort in loving other gay young people who welcome this mother's love. But I know she wishes she'd made this journey sooner, while her daughter was still alive.
post #115 of 132
i read the letters to timothy this morning for some context and had to laugh about the parts where the faithful are instructed not to argue over words.

that being said . . . when verses refer to sodomites, i have a hard time relating that to gay people that i know. what is described at sodom is not any kind of consensual relationship but rape, and we know that just as molestors of young boys are usually heterosexual, so are men who rape men. that's what i mean when i say i don't believe the scriptures used to support the arguments against gay marriage are actually about that.

i do believe two men, or two women, can exchange vows, create a family, and live together in a way that honors god, each other and themselves. no verse in the bible that i know of condones this, but no verse anyone has ever shown me condemns it either, since we do not observe the laws given to the children of israel.
post #116 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
HennyPenny, What gets me about the whole "this issue is not clear" argument, is that we're talking about people's lives here.

For heterosexuals, yeah, I guess it's easy to take the attitude that it's somehow more thoughtful and spiritual to remain inconclusive.

But for homosexuals, there's a need to come to an acceptance of themselves and of this unique calling that God has placed on their lives. There's also this need for the parents, and other family members and friends of gay individuals.

As I write this, I'm thinking of "The Bible Tells Me So" -- and of the mother of the girl who hung herself. When her daughter came out to her, this mother responded by saying, "I love you but I will never accept this in you." And to her daughter, that did not feel like love.

After her daughter's death, this mother began to study the Scriptures for herself, and to realize she'd swallowed a lie, a lie that had ultimately cost her (and this world) her lovely daughter. So now she finds comfort in loving other gay young people who welcome this mother's love. But I know she wishes she'd made this journey sooner, while her daughter was still alive.

ok but it's not an "argument"... it's how it is. I don't say it for argument's sake. I say it b/c it is how it is. it's NOT clear. there are just as many verses that seem to condemn it, that condone it. so how can I in good conscience lead or "advise" other's to follow in a way I am unsure of myself? I lean towards one way (strongly) but that doesn't make me right. if it were that cut and dry this thread would NOT exist.

yes, these are people's lives. which is why I don't run other's lives. nor would I wish to! This is why I pray for those caught in that situation and without knowledge of what to do. my heart goes out to them very much. My prayers go up for them. But I cannot sure anyone that their choice to follow their feelings of homosexuality is right. I cannot. b/c I care about them and I care about obedience to the Lord. if this makes me less of a person or less of an intellegence in your eyes, so be it. but i must follow my conscience just as you must too. There isn't something more "thoughtful or spiritual" about remaining undecided. there is something seriously wrong with a person making a rash decision on their beliefs, however.

there are a LOT of issues that involve people's lives that are not clear. this is one. it sucks. it just does. but I don't make a habit of jumping on board with an ideas just b/c it's difficult not to, ykwim? I would never jump on this board and start handing out commands of what other's should do. I haven't nor would I unless asked. There are issues in everyone' lives that are unclear. it's not just homosexuals, or homosexuality. it's not just them that have to deal with internal conflict. some people may deal with this more than others.... but no person is totally without inner conflict and a desire to resolve it. I have great empathy for that need.

about the girl who hung herself, I'm not sure you're point. clearly that mother made an assumption about what the Bible said, but never truly looked into it. I haven't done that. the end. I don't make rash decisions on things based on feelings or what I've been told to believe about big issues. HENCE, me admitting this is a tough one for me.
post #117 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post
so how can I in good conscience lead or "advise" other's to follow in a way I am unsure of myself?
But I don't think that I (or anyone else who shares my views here) has advocated "advising" anyone else on how to live his or her life.

Just as no one could "advise" me about whether or not I was in love with my dh ... and no one should "advise" someone else to go on the mission field. And on and on.

God calls each of us into different areas of life. It's not for me to "lead" you, or vice-versa -- but rather we should support and encourage one another -- and affirm the piece of Christ that we see in one another.

The problem with the stance many churches/Christians take on homosexuality, is that it allows no room for the affirmation and sharing of life that God is calling us to do. And it causes a portion of the Body of Christ to not be welcomed in by every part of the Body (I'm not talking about being welcome to attend a church service -- I'm talking about being welcome to share in the full life of the Christian community) ...

And what I shared about the girl who hung herself, was to make the additional point that the rejection drives some people away totally.

And, yeah, I realize people opposed to homosexuality will often say they accept the person, but reject the "sin." But, again, to someone struggling to be real and relate honestly with others, this rejection of a core part of them is really a rejection of them.
post #118 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post
yes I do understand this very much... which is why I mentioned it. and sometimes I think the answers we think we receive are not answers from god but from ourselves, our wishes and our desires.. or outside influences. (this goes both ways!) which is why I always try to remian open to God about it all. knowing at any moment i could misunderstand His laws, commands or "answers" to my questions about any given subject. I am flawed and imperfect.

If i felt i knew it all I would instead say "and this is how it is, and that is final". but i haven't said anything of the sort. only to explain a few thoughts and concepts. I've never told anyone how to feel only encouraged seeking god wholeheartedly (as in NOT with a preconceived notion of what is right). I have and will continue to do this in many ways. Homosexuality is a difficult issue. anyone who says it's not, I think is quite oversimplifying it. (on either side of the issue!). it's one of many unclear things. to some it may seem clear, but to those who look deeply they tend to think it's slightly muddy. (even myself, who disagrees that homosexuality is permissible admits this!)

I don't believe I've given any reason to evoke the idea that I think everyone should agree with how I see it. The ONLY thing I've openly disagreed on it how "fundies" are labeled negatively and that basing our feelings about God's law solely on our own feelings isn't an accurate way to obtain what God desires of us. beyond that I've been open to other thoughts completely. (though I may disagree)
Oh, I wasn't implying that you think everyone should think like you, HP. I have really appreciated your tone throughout this conversation. My question was a genuine one, just wondering if you recognize that sincere God-seeking people can and do come up with different answers to these questions. I suppose it came from the fact that, just as the word "fundie" can be code in liberal circles for "ignorant bible thumper", I've found that in religious circles the exhortation to "seek God in prayer" can be code for "you obviously haven't prayed enough because your answer is wrong". I'm glad to know that is not what you are thinking.
post #119 of 132
Quote:
And, yeah, I realize people opposed to homosexuality will often say they accept the person, but reject the "sin." But, again, to someone struggling to be real and relate honestly with others, this rejection of a core part of them is really a rejection of them.
Yeah, this.
post #120 of 132
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
<snip>
For heterosexuals, yeah, I guess it's easy to take the attitude that it's somehow more thoughtful and spiritual to remain inconclusive.

But for homosexuals, there's a need to come to an acceptance of themselves and of this unique calling that God has placed on their lives. There's also this need for the parents, and other family members and friends of gay individuals. <snip>
But those of us who dont know arent vying for the title of "thoughtful and spiritual"... we really read the bible and truly dont know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
<snip>
God calls each of us into different areas of life. It's not for me to "lead" you, or vice-versa -- but rather we should support and encourage one another -- and affirm the piece of Christ that we see in one another.
But we are called to lead. We are to be the light of the world. The NT is chock full of the apostles admonishing against some sin or the other. Christianity isnt a passive religion.

Granted anyone who really struggles with whether homosexuality is a sin for Christians should also be struggling with ceremonial cleanliness surrounding menstruation or any of the other issues raised.
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